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Title: Configuration of the action observation network depends on the goals of the observer
Observing the actions of others engages a core action observation network (AON) that includes the bilateral inferior frontal cortex (IFC), posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) (Caspers et al., 2010). Each region in the AON has functional properties that are heterogeneous and include representing the perceptual properties of action, predicting action outcomes and making inferences as to the goals of the actor. Critically, recent evidence shows that neural representations within the pSTS are sharpened when attending to the kinematics of the actor, such that the top-down guided attention reshapes underlying neural representations. In this study we evaluate how attention alters network connectivity within the AON as a system. Cues directed participant's attention to the goal, kinematics, or identity depicted in short action animations while brain responses were measured by fMRI. We identified those parcels within the AON with functional connectivity modulated by task. Results show that connectivity between the right pSTS and right IFC, and bilateral extended STS (STS+) were modulated during action observation such that connections were strengthened when the participant was attending to the action than goal. This finding is contrasted by the univariate results, which no univariate modulations in these brain regions except for right IFC. Using the functional networks defined by Yeo et al. (2011), we identified the parcels that are modulated by the attention to consist mainly of the fronto-parietal control network and default mode networks. These results are consistent with models of top-down feedback from executive system in the IFC to pSTS and implicates a right lateralized dual pathway model for action observation when focused on whole-body kinematics.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1658278 1658560
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
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Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
Action observation Action observation network fMRI Mirror neuron system Functional connectivity
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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